Playing the first game of the season, La Verne’s Mahina Reyes battled against Chapman’s Ronda Cicchillo on Sunday at the La Verne Aquatics Center. Reyes scored three goals for the Leopards, but it was not enough to beat the Panthers, who doused the Leopards, 5-4. La Verne will play in the Cal Lutheran Tournament on Saturday against Cal State Monterey Bay.
The sun shone over the water and the pool glistened as the women’s water polo team kicked off their season with two home games.
Perfect weather, strong water polo skills and two very intense games were just some of the exciting highlights.
La Verne walked away with one win, and one loss over the stand.
The women’s water polo team kicked off its season against Chapman on Sunday at the La Verne Aquatic Center.
The Leopards fell short by a goal to the Panthers losing, 5-4.
“I think we played well for our first game,” Katie Watkins, a senior utility player said. “We played together as a team, and it felt as if we had been playing together for a while.”
Despite the loss, sophomore driver Mahina Reyes played well, registering a hat trick for the Leopards.
“I didn’t do anything different,” Reyes said. “I guess I just shot the ball.”
Reyes chipped in her first goal less than two minutes into the match giving the women a 1-0 lead.
However, two minutes later the Panthers charged back to tie the score 1-1 ending the first quarter.
The rally continued when senior two-meter player Jennifer Aguilar scored her first goal of the game, giving the one goal advantage to La Verne before heading into the halftime break.
Reyes helped increase the margin when she scored her second goal of the day giving the Leopards a two goal advantage.
Chapman retaliated quickly, and scored two back-to-back goals with about one-minute remaining in the third quarter, to tie the match 3-3.
Heading into the final quarter, Chapman would continue their goal streak and eventually take the 5-3 lead.
The game’s intensity was still very visible with the amount of ejections, but Reyes would attempt to revive her team and score her third on the day with just about two minutes remaining in regulation.
La Verne was unable to come back and fell short, 5-4.
“I think we felt strong, for it being our first game,” Reyes said.
“I think our biggest problem was that we weren’t able to capitalize on their mistakes,” Lindsay Jones, junior goaltender said. “But we did have a better start than last year.”
On Wednesday morning, another picturesque day, La Verne defeated Pennsylvania’s Gannon College, 8-5, capturing their first win and improving their current record to 1-1.
Senior Lindsey Watson played exceptionally in the win, scoring half of ULV’s goals during the match.
Watson had the first goal for her team, tying the score 1-1 with about a minute and a half remaining in the first quarter.
Reyes, Aguilar and senior Laura Larsen each chipped in a goal allowing the Leopards to go on a 4-goal streak as well as increase their lead, 4-1.
La Verne maintained the lead the rest of the game and only allowed Gannon within two goals the rest of the match.
Later in the game Watson helped La Verne clinch its win by putting away three goals in the fourth quarter.
Jones had an outstanding performance in goal with 11 saves.
La Verne’s offense was able to execute their power play, as four of their goals came from the one-man advantage.
“Overall, I think we started off our season well,” Watkins said. “We won one game, and came very close to the other.”
Not only was this the start of a new season for the women, but head coach Tim Hugar, also made his return to the pool deck since the women’s season last year.
He took the men’s season off to spend time with his new addition to their family.
“Of course we are excited to have Tim out here,” Larsen said. “He’s a respectable coach who has a lot of knowledge for the game.”
“We are excited for the upcoming season and this weekend’s game against Santa Cruz and Sonoma State,” Watkins said. “They are usually good and intense games.”
La Verne will play this weekend in the Cal Lutheran Tournament in Thousand Oaks.
Jennifer Gilderman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.